Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman
SATURDAY NIGHT WIDOWS is the transcendent and infectiously wise memoir of six marriages, six heartbreaks, and one shared beginning. In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. Following her own remarriage, she forms a group with five other young widows and together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity. The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize.
I'll be honest and admit that whenever I heard the term 'widow', I always conjured up the image of an older woman dressed in black. I'm not exactly sure why that is the image that came to mind, but it did. However, after reading Aikman's book, Saturday Night Widows, I'll never associate an image to the term 'widow' again. Because, the truth of the matter is that widows come in all ages.
Now I wasn't sure what to expect from Saturday Night Widows, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself easily caught up in Aikman's journey of exploring widowhood. She lost her husband in her early forties and found herself to be a rarity in the widow world. You see, the widows she met were pretty much committed to remaining in a state of perpetual mourning, whilst Aikman wanted to figure out a way to move forward with her life. Of course, she mourned for her husband and didn't consider falling in love again, but she also knew that her husband wouldn't want her to stop living; and truthfully, she didn't want to stop enjoying life. The journey was long and hard, but eventually Aikman managed to open her heart to a new man and she found herself happily married and with a new step-daughter. Life was thriving once again. However, the struggles she endured as a widow were difficult and lonely to get through, so she decided to form a support group of her own - one that doesn't kick you out after the first meeting (as had happened to her). The Saturday Night Widows, or Blossoms (as they eventually called themselves) consisted of six young widows coping with their widowhood at different stages - this group would provide a safe place for them to discuss their experiences, concerns, desires, etc. - a way for them all to move forward.
Well written, engaging, and unputdownable, this book chronicles the year of Saturdays these six women spent together and how friendships formed and deepened. These women discussed dating, sex, careers, houses, etc. all whilst engaging in various activities such as lingerie shopping, touring a museum, and traveling. These women were embracing life and enjoying it. I found it inspiring to read about these women and cheered them on when they were nervous about going on a date or scared about moving in with someone and their kids - they confronted their fears head on. Through Aikman's book, we learn so much about widowhood, relationships, and life - it all makes for such an emotional and uplifting read.
I would most definitely recommend Saturday Night Widows to fans of nonfiction - you will enjoy this book!
Thanks so much to Danielle over at Crown Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!